Papers of John Adams, volume 10

To the Comte de Vergennes

From Bidé de Chavagnes

52 From Edmund Jenings, 27 July 1780 Jenings, Edmund JA From Edmund Jenings, 27 July 1780 Jenings, Edmund Adams, John
From Edmund Jenings
Sir Brussels July 27. 1780

I received by yesterdays Post your Excellencys Additions to your Answer to certain Pamphlets,1 All of which I will take Care to Convoy to England—but they are of such Importance, that I shall be careful to whom, they are Trusted, and therefore may perhaps wait a little while, before I find a Convenient Opportunity. I have read them with much pleasure and shall do it Again with great Attention, before I Send them; Agreably, I assure myself, to your Excellencys Wishes.

Your Excellency will be pleased not to talk of giving me trouble and of your not Knowing how I can be requited for what I do. Your Excellency puts me in the way of serving the Cause of Liberty and Virtue, and that is Ample Reward and demands of me my most particular Thanks to you. I would serve my Country in a public and open Manner, if she wanted me by not having better Men, but for my own Comfort, I had rather do it in a private Manner. I Know the Misery of Ostensible Charaters and I am affraid your Excellency does so too. But it is Ones Duty to Act for the public in Any and every Capacity, and whatever happens the Conscience of doing for the best in a Glorious Cause will support your Excellency through all your Trials. May God of his Infinite Goodness, I Speak piously as well as politically, Assist your Excellency in all your Endeavours to Serve the Cause of private and public Happiness.

I think there is no doubt of the Junction of the Spanish and the French Squadron in the West. By Accounts from Holland Greaves must be much behind Monsr. Ternay or Else.

I was fearful that my Letters were Stopped—but I find my particular Friend has been ill which Accounts for his not writing.

I am Sir your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obt Hble Servt

E. Freeman

Your Excellency will be pleased to turn over.

P.S. The inclosd is a Copy of what was sent to Holland last Monday2 which I shall be Happy Your Excellency did not Object to.

I think your Excellency will have Seen the enclosd print papers3—but I cannot help sending them, least they should have Escaped your Excellencys Notice.

RC and two enclosures (Adams Papers). The first enclosure (see note 2) was likely the first of two very similar drafts in Edmund Jenings' hand: the first, unen-53dorsed, is dated “July 10 1780”; the second, endorsed by JA: “Mr. Jennings's Letter,” is undated. The two were filmed under the dates of 10 July 1780 and Dec.? 1780, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reels 352, 353. The second enclosure (see note 3) was a newspaper clipping.


This was JA's brief covering letter of 22 July (Adams Papers), enclosing the final portion of his reply to Joseph Galloway's Cool Thoughts. For that letter, see Jenings' letter of 21 July, note 3 (above).


This is likely the proposed newspaper piece mentioned in Jenings' letter of 21 July (above). Jenings' purpose in writing for a Dutch audience was to counter British reports of Clinton's capture of Charleston and thereby allay Dutch fears regarding the fate of the revolution in America. Jenings minimized the importance of Clinton's victory, declaring that its prominence in the British press reflected the ministry's need to divert attention from problems at home, notably the Gordon Riots. The capture of Charleston would benefit the British no more than their previous occupation of Boston, Newport, and Philadelphia; and, despite British claims to the contrary, loyalist support was no more enthusiastic or widespread in South Carolina than it had been in other conquered areas. JA's influence is evident from Jenings' borrowings from JA's comments on the capture of Charleston in his letter of 18 July (above), and on British distrust of their loyalist allies in “Letters from a Distinguished American,” ante 14–22 July, No. II, 5th par., above). It is not known whether Jenings' article was published, but see his letter of 7 Aug., and note 3 (below).


The second enclosure was a clipping from the General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer of 20 July, containing a report on the Hussey-Cumberland negotiations in Spain and the prediction that they were unlikely to be successful.